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Consequences of Authoritarian Party Exit and Reinvention for Democratic Competition

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Comparative Political Studies Journal cover image

How do the successors to authoritarian ruling parties influence subsequent democratic party competition? The existing literature does not distinguish among these parties, nor does it differentiate among the distinct strategies of their adaptation to the collapse of authoritarian rule. As a result, the impact of these parties on democracy has been unclear and difficult to discern. Yet, using a novel data set with observations from postcommunist Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America, I find that the exit of authoritarian ruling parties from power and their subsequent reinvention as committed democratic competitors are powerfully associated with robust democratic party competition. Mixed effects regressions and estimates of treatment effects show that authoritarian exit and reinvention promote the success of democratic party competition.

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